The government’s levelling up programme is moving further ahead today, with land for the permanent site of the new Darlington Economic Campus being purchased.

The future site for the Darlington Economic Campus, which has been purchased today.

The Darlington Economic Campus (DEC) was established in August 2021 and Departments moved into Feethams House in June 2022.  It currently houses 600 government staff.

Brunswick Street is the permanent site for the DEC, which is the Treasury’s second headquarters and will also accommodate the Department for Business and Trade. Construction of a new government hub will begin in October 2024 and is expected to be completed in 2026.

The hub will help grow the economy in the region with 1139 roles committed to Darlington, and 674 relocated to date. The move of Civil Service roles to Darlington is expected to generate approximately £30 million per 1,000 roles relocated in economic benefits for the town, down to increased footfall and spending from staff.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin said:

Levelling up is about tangible change on the ground and the purchasing of the Darlington Economic campus land shows that the government is putting down roots in the communities we serve.

The campus will house 1400 civil servants and as the Treasury’s second headquarters is a visible signal of levelling up in action.

It will not only create job opportunities for people in the local area, it also means a Civil Servant could pursue an entire career to the top of their profession without ever moving to London.

The land purchase shows how the government is spreading opportunity across the country and putting down permanent roots in communities, as the country levels up.

The DEC is an important part of the Government’s Places for Growth (PfG) programme, which is moving roles out of London to areas across the UK.

The programme will see 22,000 roles move from London by 2030 and is part of ensuring that staff working in government are closer to the people and communities that they serve.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office Alex Burghart said:

The continued success of the Darlington Economic Campus shows that the Places for Growth programme is delivering high quality government jobs across the whole country.

This is good for the local area and good for the Civil Service, as it ensures that Whitehall can take advantage of the wisdom and experience from people all over the UK.

This new site will provide more capacity for civil servants to work from at least eight different government departments.

Alongside the Treasury, the Campus will house teams from the Department for Business and Trade, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Office for National Statistics and the Competition and Markets Authority. They will be working alongside the Department for Education who already have a base in Darlington.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Gareth Davies said:

People should be able to develop their careers within the Civil Service without moving to London and the Darlington Economic Campus is testament to that. It has a strong vision, which includes making government, policy, and delivery stronger through a diverse workforce which is more representative of the public we serve.

With this new milestone there is a real sense of momentum. The Brunswick Street space will be a boost for local growth and jobs while bringing the people of Darlington and the Tees Valley closer to the heart of government decision-making.

The building will accommodate over 1,400 civil servants in a highly sustainable, interoperable working environment. Campus locations such as the DEC provide an enduring sustainable model for PfG role relocations, enable more effective cross-Goverment collaboration and help to create a Civil Service that is more connected to and reflective of the communities it serves.

The building, which will be highly sustainable, will be designed in line with the Government Workplace Design Guide. Once complete, it will offer an effective mix of flexible work spaces to support accessibility, neuro-diversity, collaboration and wellbeing, along with refreshment hubs, home zones and meeting rooms.

Recruiting for the DEC is progressing well with several departments currently based in Feethams House, the interim DEC’s interim home.  Civil servants based in the interim facility will relocate to Brunswick Street on completion of the new building, and Feethams House will be used to support the wider DEC alongside Bishopsgate House.

Clive Anderson, Director of Capital Projects said:

The Government Property Agency plays a key role in the Government’s transformation agenda ensuring that people in all part of the United Kingdom receive opportunities as part of the Levelling Up programme.

Working closely with Darlington Borough Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority and our clients, we will create unique opportunities for people across Darlington and the North East.

Investing in a land purchase and a freehold solution, gives us the opportunity to design the hub as a landmark, sustainable, placemaking building, with high levels of inclusivity enabling access by all.

It is expected the construction contract tender will be released via the CCS Construction Works Framework in Q4 2023.

Published 25 September 2023